George Hightower was a wealthy man originating from Newport Beach, California. At some point in time he came into ownership of what would eventually become the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 1877, George married a beautiful woman named Constance Hatchaway but was unknowing that she was a gold digging serial-killer. That very same year (if not night) Constance murdered him with a hatchet to inherit his estate and kept his head as a memento in a hatbox in the attic. Constance would go on to live into her old age with her even having a portrait of her atop George's tomb after having driven a hatchet through his bust.
In the non-cannon but influential cast-member created storyline The Ghost Gallery, George appeared under the moniker of George Gracey Sr.. In this story, George purchased the Haunted Mansion in the late 19th century for his wife Mary Gilbert Gracey (this continuity's elderly Constance). However George left Mary alone in the estate while he did business elsewhere, forcing her to raise their child George Gracey Jr. (Master Gracey and this continuity's Ghost Host) alone.
After he had an affair in-which he conceived a child who would go on to become one of the men from the quicksand stretching portrait in adulthood, Mary killed George with an axe to the head. Following this Mary got off legally with it being declared a crime of passion and she subsequently vanished off the face of the Earth, leaving their son alone.
Haunted Mansion (film)
In the continuity of the 2003 film, George and Constance are referenced in the lore as the characters George Gracey and Abigail Gracey (Abigail being the original unused name of the Constance character). Here they had two children that died of scarlet fever with the only survivor being Edward Gracey (Master Gracey). After this, Abigail became obsessed with the occult and hired Madame Leota. Both she and George died years later, although not in the traditional mariticidal form attributed to their characters.
The Haunted Mansion
George is seen twice in the attraction. He is first seen in the Stretching Room portrait of an elderly Constance Hatchaway after the portrait expands. It shows George's bust with Constance's axe wedged in it.
George's second appearance is in the attic. As the guests pass by, his head disappears. His picture is surrounded by antiques from his exotic trips. Constance is found right beside this portrait, making dark jokes about her life of crime.
Main Street Penny Arcade
The likeness of the Stretching Room portrait depicting Connie and George is seen on one of Esmeralda's tarot-cards in the Penny Arcade of Disneyland.
George appeared at a dinner theater event at Disneyland to commemorate the mansion's 40th anniversary. According to the show, Constance killed him the night before their wedding, and they were reunited in the afterlife. Afterwards, he greeted guests on the balcony, welcoming them into his mansion alongside his wife.
George is briefly referenced in Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion by Constance's mother. In the comic's continuity, she intended on taking a sixth husband sometime after his death.
Given his surname and class, it is very likely he was a relative of Society of Explorers and Adventurers and Pillagers Brigade member Harrison Hightower III. Harrison being the owner of the Hotel Hightower in New York where he was killed by the god Shiriki Utundu and bound as a ghost himself.
- George's full name was given on his wedding certificate, which can be found in the attic at the Magic Kingdom.
- In a 1968 script for the Haunted Mansion, the George in the stretching portrait was named George Patecleaver, who 'preceeded' his wife, Abigail. When the bride's story was expanded with the 2006 refurbishment, the portrait was retconned into George Hightower.
- The photograph in the attic was intentionally created the way that it was to draw a direct parallel between the George in the attic and the George in the stretching room. Constance was given a rose and George was given a similar mustache and hair style.
- If the assumed connection between the Hightowers is correct, Harrison would have been 42 when George and Constance were married.
- Imagineer Rick Rothschild, who worked on attractions like ExtraTERRORestrial: Alien Encounter and Stitch's Great Escape, portrayed George Hightower in the changing wedding picture.
- George's original Stretching Room portrait indicates that Constance killed him with an axe blow to the head. However his attic portrait indicates that he was decapitated.
- This can be fairly easily explained off as Constance's initial killing blow could have been a blow to the skull and that following this she decapitated him to add to her collection of late-husband's heads.
- Surrell, Jason. The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic. pg 109.
- Surrell, Jason. The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic. pg 110.